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Bosch Sensortec highlights use of MEMS in smart home devices

Bosch Sensortec highlights use of MEMS in smart home devices
Bosch Sensortec, a top MEMS (microelectromechanical system) manufacturer, explained how its sensors are being used in smart home devices.

As a manufacturer of MEMS, Bosch Sensortec has entered the smart home market providing sensors for the purpose of air quality control, among others. Previously, Bosch has had a long history of providing sensors for motion-related devices in the automotive and smartphone industries.

Marcellino Gemelli, Director of Bosch Sensortec, explained how its MEMS are used in environmental sensor units to monitor air quality and temperature in smart homes. The BME680 is a 4-in-1 sensor that can be used to measure barometric pressure, air temperature, humidity and gas. In a smart home, this is used to control air quality by detecting chemical and physical pollutants.

Marcellino Gemelli,
Director, Bosch Sensortec
Gemelli used cooking in a kitchen as a use case for its environmental unit. He explains that when someone is in the kitchen cooking, they don't notice the smell it produces because they are immersed in it. However, if someone else were to enter the kitchen, the smell would be very noticeable. Bosch's environmental unit would be able to detect the smell. If, for example, the unit were embedded in an air purifier, it could trigger the device to turn on and filter the air. The sensor can also turn on the kitchen hood or recommend to open the window.

The energy efficiency of its sensors was also highlighted. Many smart home devices use the company's accelerometer to "wake up" devices. Gemelli pointed out that its "accelerometer uses less than 1µA" and is ideal for ultra-low-power applications. 

New for this year's CES show is Bosch Sensortec's interactive projection module, which can be used in smart homes and in retail applications. The BML100PI module can be used by home device manufacturers to create "smart shelves" for use in places such as wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. "You can turn any device into a touch-enabled surface without adding a touchscreen," Gemelli said. 

For example, a module could be used to project information such as the weather forecast, an individual's daily schedule, and reminders onto a wardrobe. According to the company's press release, the module processes this information and can then recommend clothing suitable to the weather forecast and/or planned activities. 

"If an item of clothing is missing or in the laundry bin, the smart shelf can suggest new clothing for the user to order in an online fashion store or it can schedule a date for the laundry service, which is directly synced with the user’s calendar,” the press release stated. 

Similarly, in a smart refrigerator the projection module could help detect when certain food items run out. It could then create and display a grocery list for the user and suggest an online order from a grocery store. 

Gemelli noted that one key feature of the interactive projection module was that it was always in focus because there is no lens. This means that the module is able to project a clear image onto various surfaces no matter the shape, size or color. In a smart home, this is of particular use since projection surfaces can be at different distances from the projector.

While this technology may not be a necessary addition to any smart home, it introduces a new, more interactive aspect of smart home technology, and enables new product design opportunities to make smart home components more fascinating and thereby foster the growth of the smart home market as a whole.

*For more smart home trends of 2019, please visit Tech Experts Reveal 2019 Smart Home Technologies.

Product Adopted:
Energy Efficiency

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